After being inspired by this post, I’ve been trying to revert back to being more of a “yes” mom. No, I’m not giving in to every demand or allowing my preschooler and toddler to transform into tiny tyrants. What I am making an effort to do is to use less fighting words, to not always be saying, “no,” or “don’t,” to choose my battles a bit more carefully, and to not allow my tiredness to result in lazy, hands-off parenting.
See, I used to be such a fun parent. I would act out stories, sing silly songs, and join in on the finger painting mess. Then I had another baby and then another. And then my husband’s hours got worse and worse (one reason I have time to blog and write is because I’m frequently alone in the evenings, stuck at home, and eager to talk about my feelings to someone, anyone). And then cleaning up messes started to demand too much energy. And little things irritated me. Small requests seemed too big to handle.
And one day I woke up and I realized I’d become one of those “no” moms.
I recognize my limitations. I am realistic, knowing that sometimes the demands of raising three children, gearing up for homeschooling my oldest, keeping house, and supplementing our income right now mean I may not be able to play as much with my children. I’m not their recreation director. There are other more pressing tasks I must tackle first.
Yet, is it really such a bother to say “yes” every once in awhile to an all-day slumber party, an impromptu nature walk (I’m fairly good at planning things; it’s the spontaneous requests for things that I sometimes balk at), or to eating a cookie at breakfast? In this case, the right answer is no. It’s actually quite fun. It adds a little excitement to my children’s day (and to mine as well especially if the aforementioned cookies contain dark chocolate chunks).
While I can’t promise to always cheerfully say yes to messy crafts and flowers at the grocery store, it’s been a very helpful exercise for me to gulp down some of my “nos” and to be more agreeable to my kids’ requests. Not only have I enjoyed being more of a “yes” mom again, it’s actually made things more peaceful around here. Instead of digging their heels into the ground prepared for a fight, my kids have been making more polite requests and I’ve been pausing before immediately proclaiming no, no, no. Not to mention, the “lovely splash of color” (my preschooler’s words) that’s been added to our kitchen thanks to our purchase of bouquet of fuchsia carnations is a beautiful reminder to say “yes” more often.
Here’s a look at just a few things I’ve said “yes” to in recent weeks:
- Adding more milk to a bowl of cereal when the flakes were already drowning in liquid.
- Agreeing to a preschooler’s request for a cookie slathered in frosting at 8:27 A.M.
- Buying flowers at the grocery store.
- Accepting lots of “help” from my toddler during the same visit to the grocery store (the trip took about 20 minutes longer than normal, but the toddler felt very, very empowered). I also allowed my preschooler to pick out a cereal I normally would never have added to my cart because of its cost and content. PLEASE NOTE: Grocery stores are dangerous territory when it comes to being a “yes” mom. If you choose to adopt this little exercise, you may want to hit the store sans kiddos.
- An indoor beach party:
- Permitting my girls to watch TV twice in one day. I’m such a rebel.
- Allowing my girls to complete a cutting project in the bathroom with me while I was…ummm…you know. If only they’ll always want to be this close to me…
- A plea to leave the breakfast table mid-bite to go outside to chase a big birdie.
- A very messy craft that resulted in a toddler-turned-Smurfette:
- Permitting a little one to light a candle all by herself after Mass (all the while praying she wouldn’t burn the church down).
- Another game of Old Maid.
- Another game of War.
- Another game of Uno.
- Pretending to pick up Feezy (my preschooler’s imaginary friend), so he could tag along with us at the park.
- A trip to the park/playground in sweltering hot weather. (I’ve heard there are people who actually like the feeling of being drenched in sweat. I don’t consider myself one of them.).
- Lots of helping hands in the kitchen.
- Letting my toddler sleep in a pretty, frilly dress one night. Then letting her stay in a nightgown one day.
- Stashing a collection of natural artifacts in my purse that were collected after a picnic dinner. My new purse contents included three rocks, an acorn, a stick, and several crumpled leaves.
How about you? What are some ways you can be more of a “Yes” mom?